Press Release (15 September 2021)

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Press Release (15 September 2021)

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) has been made aware of allegations of sexual abuse of five girls, according to information received to date, involving unidentified members of the Gabonese military contingent deployed in the centre of the country.

In line with the United Nations’ global policy of assistance and support to victims of sexual exploitation or abuse by United Nations personnel or related staff, the identified victims received immediate care and support through Mission partners, according to their medical, psychosocial and protection needs.

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Given the gravity of these allegations and the United Nations’ zero tolerance policy with respect to sexual exploitation and abuse, and subject to the findings of the investigation, MINUSCA dispatched a multidisciplinary team to the location which assessed the situation and established risk management prevention measures.

Furthermore, on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, the United Nations Secretariat requested the Gabonese authorities to appoint a national investigator within five working days and for the investigation to be concluded in less than 90 days.

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The United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) has opened an investigation and stands ready to assist should a national investigator be appointed.

Due to the serious nature of these latest reported allegations, the United Nations Secretariat took the decision to repatriate the entire Gabonese contingent of MINUSCA.

This decision was communicated by the Secretariat to the Gabonese authorities on Tuesday, September 14, 2021. It is based on Security Council resolution 2272 (2016), whose Standing Implementation Review Committee had under review the Gabonese contingent since 2017, and which envisages that, in the face of instances of credible evidence of widespread and systemic sexual exploitation and abuse or failures to take appropriate steps to investigate, hold perpetrators accountable or keep the Secretary-General informed of progress, the units of the Member State should be replaced.

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MINUSCA remains firmly committed to fighting sexual exploitation and abuse by its personnel and to fully implementing the United Nations’ zero tolerance policy with respect to sexual exploitation and abuse.

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